The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has announced its intention to call for an excise tax on meat, citing that meat is the “number one cause for climate change” and that a tax on meat could prevent future natural disasters.
I’m going to have to call bull on this one (pun intended).
First of all, I think that it is a far stretch to blame recent natural disasters on the fact that people consume meat. If that’s what you want to promote then provide some studies or statistics to back that up. I’m not all about glittering generalities. I want facts. Not quotes from two or three scientific seeming individuals, but cold-hard facts. If this meat tax is going to be considered as serious legislation, then long-term, peer reviewed research should be invested before making a willy-nilly accusations or decisions that will affect everyone.
Secondly, you are entitled to your opinion just like I am. And that’s what I feel this issue is—a matter of opinion. If you don’t want to eat meat—then don’t. I have no problem with vegetarianism or veganism. No, it’s not the life I’ve chosen but if that’s what makes you happy then go for it.
I have a problem with an organization that pushes for legislation on an issue that I feel is strictly a personal preference. I chose to eat meat, you don’t. We can still be friends. However, it is not right to restrict my freedom by placing barriers to something that has been acceptable as a means of providing nourishment to billions of people, for thousands of years. This is not the type of pork we need to be wasting our time with in Congress.
Ahhh…a deep cleansing breath. I’m climbing off of my soapbox now.
Let’s look at this from a different angle.
After I moved to Auburn, I was introduced to the terms animal welfare and animal rights. In my mind they were the same thing—making sure animals are well fed, healthy and safe. However, after a bit of research I discovered that these two terms are VERY different; that difference is a cause of disconnect between livestock producers (like me and Jared) and animal activist groups.
According to Wikipedia, animal rights “is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings.” Meaning that animals should be afforded legal rights just like humans and considered a part of society; therefore they shouldn’t be used as food, clothing, in research or for entertainment.
Farmers and ranchers generally fall in the animal welfare category.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “an animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.”
Animals welfare is what we strive for everyday on our farm. We want all of our animals to be healthy, happy and safe while they are under our care.
And, in case you haven’t noticed, those cows that are pictured on the blog every week are more than dollar signs. They mean a lot to me and Jared (otherwise why would I waste my time naming all of them?)
For example, one of them was given to Jared by his grandfather who is no longer with us. Some of them are all I have left of my granddaddy’s original herd. We care about these animals for more than economic reasons. That’s why I get so fired up about animal rights activists telling the public that we don’t care about our animals because the offspring of these cows are harvested for meat.
But, we do care. Deeply.
In the end, this meat tax comes down to a philosophical disagreement. Just like the differences in religious beliefs and political opinions it probably won’t be resolved and will vary from person to person. However, if serious legislation is considered on this issue, I hope it goes forth with a great amount of research, consideration and care. Because this decision will affect more than the federal budget or PETA’s plan for total world domination (I’m kidding!)—it will affect families all across this nation. And, if the family can’t thrive, neither can the nation.
Now, I want to hear from y’all! What are your opinions on the meat tax? How do you feel about animal rights? Animal welfare? Let me know in the comment section!
Here’s a few helpful links to get you started:
Animals Rights: Wikipedia
Animal Welfare from American Veterinary Medical Association
Temple Grandin on Animal Welfare (PS—in case you’re wondering she’s the one that said “nature’s cruel but we don’t have to be!”)